Orthopedic Surgeon: How to Become & Salary

Okoma V.
9 Min Read

Becoming an orthopedic surgeon could take years of studies and practice, but the outcomes are always worthwhile. According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, an orthopedic surgeon profession requires about 14 years of formal education.

This education helps you to obtain board certification with the vast majority of professionals, performing private practices. Of course, the orthopedic surgeon is a highly specialized physician, dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of skeletal injuries and muscles.


However, I am going to tell you things you need to know about an orthopedic surgeon, how much they earn, how to become, and more. Now to make things much easier for you, below is a quick navigation table of content.

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Kindly click on the topic you pick interest in and see how you’ll be automatically taken to the section of the post. 

Who are Orthopedic surgeons?

Orthopedic surgeons are doctors who specialize in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system and can specialize in areas such as sports medicine or hand surgery.


Although, Orthopedic disorders and conditions may range from congenital deformities to musculoskeletal injuries, trauma, and tumors.

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These surgeons perform a series of operations on patients who are under general anesthesia. The field also provides qualified individuals with the chance to build lucrative careers in hospitals, academic medical centers, or private practice environments.

The orthopedic surgery career path requires a maximum of 8-9 years of post-baccalaureate education, alongside continued maintenance of board certification.

Who can become an Orthopedic surgeon?

Orthopedics can be a complex field, and various subspecialties have emerged. In order to specialize or become an orthopedic, further training in the form of a fellowship is usually required.


On the contrary, if you’re planning or want to know if you could become an orthopedic surgeon while doing this, your undergraduate coursework should include topics in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and physics.

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These courses can help you prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), a standardized examination that tests an applicant’s knowledge of the physical and biological sciences, verbal reasoning and writing abilities, and critical thinking skills.

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What is the List of Orthopedic subspecialties?

Orthopedic has more than 9 subspecialties, but we would be listing five (5) most demanding subspecialties which are:

How long does it take to become an orthopedic surgeon?

In the race of becoming an orthopedic surgeon, you must first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program that generally includes one year in biology, two years in chemistry, and one year in physics.


While the other four years in medical school will follow. The first two years will be in the classroom, while the last two years are mostly in the hospital.

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During this time, you must pass the National Council tests: one after the second year of medical school and another during the fourth year (the last test is usually taken during the first or second year of graduate training).

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Depending on your educational background, you would graduate as a doctor of medicine (MD) or as a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).

After that, you must apply to start the residency program. The program will consist of four years of study focusing on the basics of orthopedics.


During this time, you will rotate through the main subspecialties in different hospitals to get a practical demonstration of the various surgical techniques.

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While ending your stay, you can choose to apply for a one- to two-year scholarship to receive an exact orthopedic specialty.

You will need to follow the board certification completion of your orthopedic training.

In this case, you must perform a peer review and pass the oral and written tests administered by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) or the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery (AOBOS).

Once awarded the certificate, you as an orthopedic surgeon must undergo rigorous rehabilitation every 10 years.


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Therefore, you should devote time to study and attend continuing medical education courses to ensure that your knowledge is updated in line with current practices.

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What Skill is required as an orthopedic surgeon?

  • Orthopedic surgeons must be physically and mentally fit to spend long and painstaking hours in operating theatres.
  • They must also have excellent decision-making skills, knowledge of the latest medical developments, full eye and precision to do their work, and, above all, genuine care and attention for all their patients.
  • Would be able to understand current medical technologies, medical ethics, pharmacology, and physiology.
  • They must also possess the ability to work long hours and make solid decisions under pressure.

How much is an orthopedic surgeon’s salary?

The salary of an orthopedic surgeon depends largely on the reputation and level of the hospital you work in, especially at the initial level.

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However, those who are at the top level can get salaries ranging from an average of $519,000 per year.

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While the salary of an orthopedic surgeon working in government hospitals is slightly lower but is adequately compensated by free accommodation and benefits.

With regard to the income of orthopedic surgeons who work spontaneously, we can say that there is no upper limit for their reward.

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